The Red Jacket Diaries blog

Sue Horner is a freelance writer in Oakville, Ontario, who blogs about writing, newsletters, communications and running an independent business in The Red Jacket Diaries blog.

Get creative! Problem solve with Post-it notes

Post-it notes were flying in last night’s session on creative problem-solving. Trevor McAlpine of Synergetic Management had members of IABC/Toronto’s Professional Independent Communicators covering the Post-its with ideas in a fast-paced session on creativity. The tactic was part of Trevor’s six-step creativity framework for harnessing ideas to solve business challenges: Explore the vision. Ask, What […]

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Can you conquer your inner packrat? I’m trying

I’m a packrat. There. I said it. And it’s true. I hang onto things way too long. Sometimes it’s due to sentimental value (Baby’s first stuffed animal! Photos! Letters from loved ones!), but other times it’s just that I’m busy. I file and forget. I don’t even see the mess after a while. The last […]

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Take the dull out of digits

Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) launched an exhibit this week that explores the story of nine rare blue whales that became stranded in thick ice and died. The ROM recovered two of the skeletons after the creatures washed ashore in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2014. Blue whales are massive, but even before you get to […]

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Jargon? Doesn’t sound best of breed to me

My colleague Sheila Gregory posted on Facebook that it starts to bug her when a word becomes trendy and is used everywhere. Right now, that word is “myriad.” A few of us chimed in with other overused or jargony words we find annoying. But jargon isn’t just annoying. Jargon is harder to understand, and makes […]

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Eyes and ears still key in the digital age

Whether your organization has five people or 50,000, there is no “silver bullet” that will solve all your communication challenges. And despite the shiny toys of the digital age, panelists at an IABC event on Feb. 28 agreed that old-school listening, talking to employees and face-to-face communication are as important as ever. The session brought […]

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3 steps for newbies to get the most from Twitter

While chatting with a colleague this week, we got on the subject of Twitter. She didn’t see much value in it and wondered if I did. I do. I’ve made connections with new people on Twitter, and gained better visibility myself. I regularly find and share interesting articles. Some people visit my blog or website […]

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Use expressive writing to explain complex ideas

Humans are funny creatures. We’ll binge-watch hours of TV episodes or movies, yet barely tolerate a fraction of a second for a web page to load. That means you need a shortcut to meaning if you’re explaining something complex or unusual. Seth Godin says the best way to convey a complex idea is to “find […]

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Cut! 11 ways to meet a stingy word count

The fellow I interviewed was chatty; the topic, fascinating. The problem? Cramming as much of that interesting conversation into just 300 words. My clients often have a specific number of words they need to fit a certain space. Magazine and newspaper editors also assign a certain number of words and may not work with you […]

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How do you give your creative head a shake?

I must have run across Roger von Oech at an IABC conference years ago. He’s an author and inventor who has been giving seminars, workshops and presentations on creativity since 1977, although he doesn’t specifically point to IABC on his website. His name came to light the other day when an indie colleague, Daria Steigman […]

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7 ways to sabotage your employee e-newsletter

Done properly, a company’s employee newsletter can deliver information employees need when they need it. An e-newsletter can reduce email volume by collecting content that otherwise would be sent separately. An e-newsletter can easily link to relevant spots in your intranet to encourage online visits. But there are at least seven ways companies undermine their […]

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